The sun rises over Florida on April 10, 2017.
The country is experiencing the third hottest year on record, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
A year ago, in the midst of the global pandemic, the US had its hottest April on record.
In the US, there were also more deaths from heat than the total number of deaths recorded by the UN for the year.
The worst hit were in Florida, where at least 8.6 million people have been displaced.
“There’s a lot of good people who are getting displaced,” says Bill Foster, a climate researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“But there are also people who aren’t getting displaced, and so there’s a very large gap between what people are doing to prepare for these events and what is actually happening.”
Foster is one of a growing number of scientists who have begun to question whether climate change really is the main threat facing the US.
He is a climate scientist who studies how human activity is changing the climate, and a former climate scientist at NOAA.
Fosters first trip to Florida took place in 2013, when he was stationed at the US embassy in Madrid, Spain.
He returned to the US a few months later.
It wasn’t until a year later that he realised that the US government had not prepared for the worst, and had been ignoring climate science and warnings.
He was told by US officials that “we’re already doing the right thing, and if the US Government was doing something different, we should do it too”.
“It’s kind of hard to believe,” he says.
“I had to say: ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.
It just feels wrong.'”
Foster returned to Florida and worked at the NOAA climate centre.
He became disillusioned with the way the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had handled climate change in its response to the pandemic.
“When you’re dealing with a global pandemics, we’ve got to take our time and prepare,” he recalls.
“We had a lot more to do than what the DHS was telling us we had to do.”
His concerns were not limited to Florida.
Foster has been writing a series of papers on how climate change impacts Florida’s economy, its tourism, and its weather, and he has also published two books about his research.
He says that if climate change were to be the main driver of the climate crisis, the answer would have to be to get out of Florida.
In the US state of Florida, the number of people living in extreme poverty has reached an all-time high, according the US Census Bureau.
“It is extremely hard to say where the true crisis is in the state,” says Foster.
“But what I do know is that there’s an opportunity for us to work with the state of California to address it.”
The California state government has pledged to reduce poverty in the Golden State by 10 per cent over the next five years, which is a target that Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has called for.
Scott and other governors across the US have also launched efforts to make the state more resilient to the coming heat wave, with Scott having proposed a new statewide plan for drought relief.
But as Foster explains, even if the state can reduce poverty, “that’s not going to be enough”.
“If you don’t have money to get food and other basic goods, that’s going to mean you’re going to have less money for education, more people in jail and the loss of a lot less.”
What happens to the climate in the US?
In the years leading up to the global financial crisis, many climate researchers believed that global warming was a temporary, and possibly temporary, phenomenon.
Now, though, there is strong evidence that it is the most important global climate phenomenon, and that the impacts are already here.
The most dramatic effects have already been felt, and it is not a matter of if, but when.
It is happening already.
The impact of the current heat wave on Florida is already here, and is already impacting the lives of people, businesses, and the economy.
As of Tuesday, the state’s economy has lost $1.5 billion in annual economic activity, according for the Florida Department of Economic Development.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Foster says.
On Tuesday, he visited the Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s office, where he met with some of the deputies who were responding to a call of a car in a parking lot with a woman inside.
There was a sign outside the window saying: “No dogs allowed”.
The deputies did not seem to care that they were on duty, and began looking into the car and the woman’s whereabouts.
At that moment, the car, with the woman inside, accelerated.
Foster saw the driver of a black Ford Fusion SUV, and called 911.
When deputies arrived